COUN720 Week 12
COUN720 Week 12 Coun 720
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
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This 9 page Study Guide was uploaded by Marie Fritch on Tuesday April 12, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to Coun 720 at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania taught by Dr. Boley in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 42 views. For similar materials see Counseling and Consulting Theories in Psychlogy at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
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Date Created: 04/12/16
Feminist Theory 1 Feminist Theory Marie Fritch Edinboro University COUN 720.002 Dr. Boley 4/6/16 Feminist Theory 2 Feminist Theory 1. Key figures Jean Baker Miller Jean Miller is a clinical professor of psychology at Boston University School of Medicine. She has worked with many scholars and colleagues towards the development of regional cultural theory. Her work has contributed to new applications in psychotherapy for issues such as social action, diversity, and workplace change (Corey, 2013). Carolyn Zerbe Enns Enns studies feminist therapy and is a professor of psychology and participant in the women’s studies program at Cornell. Most recently she has been working to furthering multicultural feminist therapy and using it around the world (Corey, 2013). Olivia M. Espin Espin is a professor in the department of woman’s studies at San Diego State University. She is a pioneer of feminist therapy and contributes to research on multicultural practices of the theory in psychology (Corey, 2013). Laura S. Brown Brown is a founding member of the feminist therapy institute, which is an organization that supports the advancement of the feminist therapy practice. She is currently researching feminist forensic psychology and applying the theory to the treatment of survivors (Corey, 2013). 2. Basic underlying assumptions Feminist Theory 3 Feminist therapy is founded upon the need to acknowledge social, cultural, and political contexts that affects a person and may contribute to issues they are having. This form of therapy asserts the importance of understanding and having awareness of the oppression women face. Feminist therapy calls into question the roles society has assigned to men and women and how we have been conditioned to accept them. Current feminist therapy also addresses issues of multicultural competence, social justice, and multiple oppressions in society (Corey, 2013). 3. Key essential concepts The view of human nature in feminist therapy is different from all other therapeutic models. This form of therapy is flexiblemulticultural, gender fair approach, life span oriented and interactionist. Flexiblemulticultural refers to concepts and strategies that apply to individuals and groups equally no matter their gender, age, race, culture, etc (Corey, 2013). A gender fair approach explains the differences between men and women as learned from society and socialization processes, rather than innate nature. Life span perspective asserts that human development is a life long process involving changes that can occur in both personality and behavior. Interactionism contains concepts specific to the behaving dimensions of human existence such as thinking and feeling while considering context and environmental factors (Corey, 2013). Feminist perspective on personality development asserts that gender roles affect us from birth and play a major role in forming our adult personalities. Women are most commonly raised to be lady like and strive to please the men in their lives. Feminist encourages breaking out of this mold that women are pushed into. This theory embraces Feminist Theory 4 women’s relational qualities and views them as strengths, not weaknesses. A woman’s ability to connect is important for healthy growth and development (Corey, 2013). Principles of feminist theory are overlapping and related in meaning. The first principle is that the personal is political. This means that all individuals’ problems are rooted in a larger picture dealing with political and social context. Understanding the political and societal context impact on a woman’s life is fundamental to this theory (Corey, 2013). Second is commitment to social change. Not only is individual change important, but also so is social change. The goal of this change is to free men and women form gender role expectations. This theory therefore believes change does not only come from inside the individual, but also social activism (Corey, 2013). The third principle is Women’s and girl’s voices and always knowing are valued and their experiences are honored. Women are encouraged to value their intuition and take meaning from their experiences to determine what is reality. Historically, women’s opinions and experiences are often not valued. Feminist theory asserts that the woman’s voice should be heard and respected by all (Corey, 2013). The counseling relationship is egalitarian. Feminists believe that there is an imbalance in power in the therapeutic relationship. The role of therapy is different in that the clients are acknowledged as the expert of their own lives. Finding equality in the relationship between client and therapist is essential (Corey, 2013). The fifth principle, A focus on strengths and a reformulated definition of psychological distress. The feminist perspective does not overwhelmingly support the Feminist Theory 5 diagnostic labeling or disease model of mental illness. Symptoms are often a survival strategy and feminist therapists discuss coping skills to treat these symptoms. Formal diagnoses are made between both client and therapist equally (Corey, 2013). All types of oppression and recognized. This is the sixth and final principle of feminist theory. Clients should be understood in the context of their sociocultural environment. The therapist helps the individual make changes in their own life while understanding the impact that political and social inequities have on their issues (Corey, 2013). 4. Important goals Goals of feminist therapy are finding empowerment, striving for change and equality, valuing diversity, and striking a balance between independence and interdependence. Making changes socially and politically will benefit the overall mental health of society (Corey, 2013). We are active agents in our own lives but also are responsible for making changes in society that will benefit the future of society as a whole. The ultimate goal is to eliminate sexism and discrimination from the world. Feminist therapists also provide individual feedback to clients to help them become aware of their gender role socialization process. Recognize negative internal thoughts and replace them with positive enhancing thoughts. Develop behaviors that the freely chosen and trust their own experiences and intuition. Clients are also trained to recognize the importance of relationships and being connected with others (Corey, 2013). 5. Role of therapeutic relationship in outcomes Feminist Theory 6 The therapist’s function and role is to uphold the beliefs of feminist therapy in their personal lives. They must have commitment towards detecting their own biases and distortions they hold. They may use techniques and strategies from other forms of therapy but they maintain their unique feminist assumptions. Overall the therapist maintains that the are not all knowing and the client is the one in control of their own lives (Corey, 2013). The clients experience in therapy is to build empowerment and take control of their life. The clients, male or female, are encouraged to voice their experiences and are free to speak about oppression or sexism they have encountered. Mutual empathy is held between the therapist and client as they share their experiences. Through therapy the client may become aware of gender role socialization has limited their actions. Ultimately the client will be able to develop and experience emotions they may not have felt safe expressing before (Corey, 2013). Relationship between client and therapist is one of equality. The therapist is free to share personal stories to illustrate that they are on the same level as the client. Oppression and sexism can happen to anyone; together a plan of action can be created for taking a stand and being active in the community to bring change (Corey, 2013). 6. Techniques Feminist therapists are very critical of the DSM classification system. Client’s symptoms can be influences by cultural and socioeconomical factors such as gender and race. Women are more prone to having behaviors and symptoms pathologized (Corey, 2013). Diagnostic labels are used sparingly as to not misinterpret symptoms for something environmentally Feminist Theory 7 influenced. Feminists believe depression is a normative experience for women because they are subjected to more violations such as sexual abuse, harassment, domestic violence, and poverty. Many women are not coincidentally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder after experiencing these traumatic events. In fact these women may be suffering from PTSD as a result of these attacks. Before reaching a diagnosis the therapist and client must both be on board with the decision. Techniques used in feminist therapy include selfdisclosure, gender role analysis, gender role intervention, power analysis, bibliotherapy, assertiveness training, reframing and relabeling, as well as social action and group work (Corey, 2013). 7. Application to client populations, settings, and treatment of problems Feminist therapy is women, men, children, couples, and families. Group therapy is a place for clients to voice the injustice they have faced in their lives. The group serves as a support and place for understanding. Women can learn that they are not alone in their struggles and can gain courage to continue facing these challenges head on (Corey, 2013). 8. Major strengths from a diversity perspective The strengths of feminist therapy from a diversity perspective are numerous. Multicultural and social justice issues are directly acknowledged in therapy. Feminist therapy promotes the need for social, environmental, and political change in the context of counseling. Culture is on the forefront of the therapists and client’s awareness (Corey, 2013). 9. Shortcomings from a diversity perspective The shortcomings of feminist therapy from a diversity perspective lie in the need more cultural context of clients. This form of therapy is so intent on women’s rights and independence Feminist Theory 8 from oppression it does not acknowledge that the client from a collectivist culture may not share these beliefs (Corey, 2013) . 10. Most significant contribution The most significant contribution of feminist therapy is that it brings awareness to the need for gender sensitive practice. There is now more awareness in the field of counseling for sexism, oppression, and other social justice issues that may be affecting the client (Corey, 2013). 11. Most significant limitation The limitations of this theory are that evidence based research on the effectiveness of feminist therapy is lacking. Feminist therapists do not hold a natural stance to the issues the client faces. There is no credentialing organization for feminist therapy, and training for it is lacking (Corey, 2013). Feminist Theory 9 References Corey, G. (2013). Theory & Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th. Ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole
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